Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Carol & the End of the World is a heartwarming new Netflix series about the apocalypse

Published Dec 26th, 2023 5:27PM EST
Carol & the End of the World on Netflix
Image: Netflix

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

Carol & the End of the World, a 10-episode animated series that Netflix quietly released earlier this month, is, to put it simply, like nothing else I’ve watched on the streaming giant all year.

Created by Dan Guterman, a writer for Community and Rick and Morty, the series offers a low-key meditation on finding one’s purpose in life, appreciating the beauty in ordinary things, and exploring the kinds of feelings and human behaviors that would get triggered by an impending apocalypse. And yet, despite that looming specter of extinction hovering in the background, Carol & the End of the World remains surprisingly heartwarming and far more contemplative than Netflix’s usual fare.

That last part no doubt explains the perfect 100% score the series currently enjoys on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing. “It’s the small, often unspoken moments of detail that make this wonderful cartoon feel far more three-dimensional than many live-action shows,” raves a reviewer for The Financial Times.

The series has reminded me that 2023 has been something of a mixed bag content-wise for the company, which continued to produce massive hits like Beef, The Night Agent, and Squid Game: The Challenge. But for each one of those, you can also point to duds like Agent Elvis, Fubar, and That ’90s Show that offered the TV equivalent of empty calories and just left you feeling meh after you watched them. This, in fact, is one of the main points argued by writer Peter Biskind in his new book Pandora’s Box: How Guts, Guile, and Greed Upended TV — that its business imperatives are making Netflix increasingly unwatchable.

I certainly get his point. But, fortunately, quirky gems like Carol & the End of the World are still doing their level best to undercut his argument. “With a mysterious planet hurtling towards Earth,” Netflix explains about the series, “extinction is imminent for the people of the world. While most feel liberated to pursue their wildest dreams, one quiet and always uncomfortable woman stands alone — lost among the hedonistic masses.”

The Carol of Carol & the End of the World (voiced by Martha Kelly) is a sad-eyed woman who starts off simply marking time while everyone around her lustily devours what remains of life and the world. Carol pays bills to a bank that doesn’t even want them anymore. She does laundry. She runs errands, oblivious to the fireworks and carnival atmosphere around her. One entire episode, in fact, is taken up by Carol’s search for printer ink.

No spoilers here, but there is deadpan humor in abundance throughout the series, as well as an implied thought exercise — what would you do in her place? Would you “carpe” the “diem”? Or simply curl up in a ball, waiting for the end and for time to run out?

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.